The Office for Nuclear Regulation has today (21 June) published its annual report highlighting the extent of its regulatory activities.
More than 1,000 inspections were carried out during the year across 36 licensed sites and transport dutyholders, ensuring the required standards of safety and security were met to protect the public and workers. ONR granted permission for licensees and dutyholders to perform more than 30 nuclear-related activities, while five improvement notices were served and complied with.
Design acceptance confirmation was granted for a new reactor – the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, designed by Hitachi-GE – while ONR made significant progress developing a safeguards regime in preparation for the UK’s exit from Euratom, despite a challenging timescale.
Good progress continues to be made in hazard reduction and remediation work at Sellafield’s legacy facilities.
Ongoing modernisation of ONR’s regulation included a new Enforcement Management Model, publication of an Enabling Regulation Guide and piloting of new Security Assessment Principles (SyAPs).
International collaboration and co-operation saw ONR participate in the first European topical peer review on ageing management of nuclear power plants; lead the peer review of the Belarus stress test on behalf of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group; and coordinate the production of the UK’s report to the Sixth Review Meeting of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.
Addressing concerns about ONR’s medium-term capacity and capability, the workforce grew by 8% to 564 [full time equivalent], supported by a new corporate Academy which is responding to the need to train more people, in all aspects of ONR’s operations, in more flexible and agile ways that meet the needs of a modern, mobile workforce.
ONR received a great vote of confidence from its stakeholders in its first ever stakeholder survey, with 83% of those who responded confident that the organisation is delivering its mission, although some stakeholders did express concerns about ONR’s capacity and capability in the next five to ten years.
ONR’s spend was less than budgeted, primarily due to the reduced requirement for new build-related regulatory activities, delays to IT improvements, and savings arising from internal efficiencies and robust commercial negotiations.
Personnel changes to the ONR Board saw Mark Foy join as Chief Nuclear Inspector, while Sir Simon Lister and Sarika Patel joined as Non-Executive Directors, bringing more diverse skills and experience.
ONR Chief Executive Adriènne Kelbie, said:
“The safety and security of the public remains our top priority. I’m pleased that ONR’s core regulatory purpose continues to be delivered effectively.
“I am grateful to the exceptional people who work in ONR, who promoted improvement and responded to change, so that the whole of ONR can be high-performing for the long term. We benefit from becoming a more diverse team, having recruited from wider sectors and backgrounds, and improved gender diversity.
“We delivered over 20 improvement projects to lay strong foundations so that ONR is fit, not just for now, but for the long-term future. In particular, I’m pleased to have begun work on a strategic improvement project to improve regulation through better knowledge management and business processes.
“We are making good progress on a long term agenda, and though there remains much to do, I am confident that the ONR team will continue to rise to the challenges.”
Chief Nuclear Inspector Mark Foy said:
“Based on the evidence gathered by my regulatory teams, I am pleased to report my judgement as Chief Nuclear Inspector that the majority of UK nuclear dutyholders have continued to achieve the high standards of safety and security that society should expect of the industry, thereby protecting the workforce and public from harm.
“We continue to apply significantly enhanced and enhanced levels of regulatory attention to a small number of licensees that do not meet the standards we expect. I am satisfied that their facilities remain safe, but we have been working closely with these licensees to ensure that they have well-defined plans to improve their performance and a clear path to achieving routine regulatory attention, where practicable.”